MSE News

Help to Buy helpline chaos leaving homeowners unable to sell or remortgage - here's what to do if you're affected

Homeowners in England who used a Government scheme to get onto the property ladder are now struggling to get the vital paperwork they need to remortgage or sell because they can't get through to the helpline. MoneySavers say they've spent hours trying to contact the scheme's newly appointed administrator.  

A firm called Lenvi took over the running of the Government-backed 'Help to Buy equity loan' scheme in June. But ever since, homeowners have faced a catalogue of problems, including being left on hold for hours, long delays waiting for paperwork, as well as direct debits not being taken.  

Homes England, which oversees the scheme, says it is currently "working hard to resolve the issues". 

Below we've got all you need to know. You can also see our First-time buyers' guide if you're thinking about getting onto the property ladder.

Help to Buy equity loan scheme borrowers are facing a raft of issues

The Help to Buy equity loan scheme, which launched in 2013, enabled first-time buyers in England to borrow up to 20% of a property's value via a Government loan interest-free for five years. The remainder of the property's value was paid for via a small deposit and a mortgage. Borrowers have monthly payments going both to Lenvi and to their mortgage lender.

Help to Buy equity loans closed to new applicants in November 2022, though since its launch, more than 387,000 homes have been bought through the scheme. We've asked Homes England how many borrowers are still repaying their loans and we will update this story when we know more.

But problems have arisen because borrowers need to contact Lenvi to get the relevant paperwork needed to sell their home, remortgage or to repay their equity loan. Where they've not been able to get through, some say they've had property sales fall through, others have reverted to pricey standard variable rates (SVRs) because they've not been able to remortgage before their existing deal ended. 

In other cases, borrowers say their monthly equity loan payments for June were not taken. 

'I can't remortgage without the paperwork - it's unbelievable'

Mark from Cumbria - who wants to be identified by his first name only - says he's been waiting eight weeks for Lenvi to send vital paperwork needed for him to remortgage his property with a new lender.

The 53-year-old told MSE he has spent hours on the phone and has tried to contact Lenvi via email but responses are few and far between. When Mark's current fixed rate mortgage ends he'll be moved onto his lender's standard variable rate and his mortgage payments will increase by £500 a month.

He said: "I need Help to Buy to send off permission for me to switch from my existing mortgage lender to a new lender. I paid the admin fee for the paperwork weeks ago and since then I've had little to no communication and haven't been able to get in touch with anyone. It's honestly unbelievable. I've given up trying to contact them now and I'm just hoping I don't lose my offer."

What to do if you're affected

Unfortunately, there are very few options available other than to wait until the delays are resolved - Homes England says it's bringing in additional staff and extending hours to help manage the demand.  

However, there are a couple of options to try depending on your situation: 

  • Selling your home? Put your completion date and Help to Buy customer reference number in the email subject line. This will enable Lenvi to prioritise responding to those who are closest to their completion date first. You can email Lenvi at 
  • Remortgaging with your existing lender? You don't need to contact Lenvi. This means you won't be impacted by any delays at Lenvi's end. If you are switching lender, or sticking with your existing lender but borrowing more or paying off your equity loan, this is a little more complicated and you will need to contact Lenvi. See our Remortgaging guide for full help.

  • Equity loan direct debit not been taken? Check your statement again. Homes England says any missing June payments should have been taken within 10 days, and your July payment should have gone out as normal. It's also promised borrowers who didn't initially have their payment taken that it will not have their account marked as being in arrears and that their credit score won't be affected.
  • In all scenarios, keep a detailed, chronological record of your attempts to contact Lenvi. Jamie Richmond, of mortgage broker Threshold Mortgages, told MSE that it's important to keep a record of any paperwork you've paid for and sent off, what mortgage offers you may have missed out on and any key dates you've missed, such as when you should have completed or remortgaged by – particularly if you plan on making a complaint. 

'My monthly direct debit hasn't been taken - it's very frustrating'

John - who wants to only be identified by his first name - from Teeside told MSE he's spent several hours (see the screenshot of John's call log below) on hold after his monthly payment for June, which he usually pays by direct debit, was not taken. 

The 42 -year-old said that he eventually gave up trying to get through over the phone and contacted Help to Buy via email.

John said: "It’s so frustrating because I’m the kind of person who likes to know where my finances are. I’ve never had a direct debit bounce back - it was the last thing I needed and I'm worried about it. I've spent hours trying to get through and the communication has been appalling."

Can you get compensation? The Government won't confirm but it's worth asking

Homes England won’t confirm if compensation is due but we've heard one example of an MSE Forum user who said they had been told over the phone that there would be compensation for anyone who had suffered financial loss due to the delays.

While there are no guarantees, if you've been left financially worse off as a result of problems with your Help to Buy equity loan, you may want to consider submitting a formal complaint. Make sure to include a record of all of your attempts to contact Lenvi.

You can submit a complaint to Help to Buy by post at: Help to Buy customer services, PO Box 5262, Lancing, BN99 9HE, by email at: or by phone on: 0300 123 4123.

You'll need to include your name, date of birth and at least two other identifying pieces of information, which may include: your customer reference number (this can be found on any letter Help to Buy has sent you), the first line of your address and postcode, the name and date of birth of anyone else on the equity loan, your phone number, your monthly equity loan payment amount and date, or a password if you've got one in place.

It can take up to eight weeks to receive a final response, sometimes longer if your complaint is complicated. Once you've received your final response, if you aren't happy with it, you can escalate your complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO). You will need to fill in a PHSO complaint form and ask your MP or their office to sign it. 

What does the Government say?

Homes England wouldn't respond to the problems faced by Mark and John detailed above as it told MSE it doesn't comment on individual cases. 

On the situation in general, a Homes England spokesperson said: "We are aware customers are currently experiencing delays contacting the Help to Buy customer service team and we sincerely apologise to those impacted. We are experiencing a very high level of demand and we are working hard to resolve this as quickly as possible, bringing in additional staff and extending our working hours." 

A Lenvi spokesperson added: "We are putting all our efforts into resolving this with Homes England and prioritising customers in order of completion date. We are investigating a number of resourcing options to support this increase in customer demand, as well as extending our working hours."

MSE weekly email

FREE weekly MoneySaving email

For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes simply sign up today – it's spam-free!